CALGARY — Singer Neil Young has not accepted an invitation from a petroleum producers group to meet before his final concert to raise money for opponents of Alberta’s oilsands.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers issued a statement Sunday saying it offered to “have a balanced discussion” Young and the chief of a first nation that is fighting oilsands development
But a representative of Young and Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam offered an alternative that was unacceptable, CAPP said.
“Young’s representative suggested oilsands producers participate in Neil Young’s media conference today, but when CAPP requested a neutral moderator and equal representation, the organizer said this was not acceptable,” the CAPP statement said.
Young garnered considerable publicity last week with his first three concerts and has generated considerable debate.
His tour wrapped up Sunday night in Alberta, the province with the most at stake in the debate over the economic and environmental effects of oilsands development.
His Calgary performance followed stops in Toronto, Winnipeg and Regina where Young dropped statements about the oilsands that many denounced as over-the top.
Young stuck by statements that the oilsands mining projects near Fort McMurray resemble the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima in 1945.
He also claimed during the past week that bitumen transported on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas would end up in China.
Young’s Hiroshima claim prompted some Twitter users in the Fort McMurray area to post pictures of natural scenes of rivers, lakes and forests under the hashtag myhiroshima.
Many of the photos are accompanied by comments such as, “The ‘wasteland’ behind my house,” or, “Dog sledding through nuclear wasteland,” and are clearly meant to highlight the discrepancy between the rock star’s portrayal of their home and what they say is the reality outside their doors.
“I just turned your CDs into landfill. So disappointed,” tweeted Terri Windover to Young’s official Twitter account.
Catherine Swift, head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, posted in myhiroshima that Young was the “Jenny McCarthy” of the “anti-economic success anti-well-paying jobs movement.”
McCarthy, a former model/actress, vehemently claims childhood vaccinations cause autism and other disabilities, despite those claims having been disproven by rigorous scientific research.
“Keep on rockin in the dumb world,” Swift tweeted.
TransCanada (TSX:TRP), the company proposing to build the Keystone XL pipeline, has countered that the pipeline would be a conduit for U.S. refineries.
Young remained unbowed throughout the week, and warned on Thursday that Alberta could end up looking “like the moon” if land isn’t preserved.
“It is like a war zone, a disaster area from war, what’s happened up there,” Young told a news conference ahead of his Winnipeg concert.